ATLANTA (WSAV) – Gov. Brian Kemp issued a handful of new executive orders Wednesday, including an extension of Georgia’s shelter-in-place order and state of emergency:
- Georgians must shelter in place through April 30; same provisions
- Public health state of emergency extended through May 13
- More aggressive measures mandated at long-term facilities
- Additional 1,000 Georgia National Guard members will assist in outbreak response
- Short term vacation rentals suspended until 11:59 p.m. April 30
The governor has often discussed the incredible need to protect those who are most vulnerable to the virus, including the medically fragile and elderly.
Kemp said mandating more aggressive measures at long-term care facilities will help do just that. He’s ordering facilities to take action in a number of ways, including limiting visitors, adopting infectious disease plans with nearby hospitals and screening both residents and employees.
State agencies will help coordinate these efforts and provide facilities with personal protection equipment, according to Kemp’s order.
Extending Georgia’s public health state of emergency will allow the state to deploy resources to communities in need, support medical providers and prepare for a potential patient surge in healthcare facilities, he said.
Although the state’s shelter-in-place order has been welcomed by many leaders in Georgia, it’s also been the subject of criticism.
Tybee Island Mayor Shirley Sessions has urged the governor to allow her to once again close down beaches. Still, the governor said his decision to open them up for exercise has not changed.
“I think part of the problem was people didn’t understand exactly what it meant that we were going to keep state parks open and have our beaches accessible,” Kemp said. “It doesn’t mean we’re opening up the beach for spring break parties or the Friday afternoon before the July 4 weekend.”
He said he understands many of the concerns residents have but also noted he spoke with many who supported his decision.
Kemp added that suspending short term rentals would help ease the fear some had that tourists might stay on the beach and take advantage of them being open.
Hear more of Kemp’s response below.
(*Correction: Short term vacation rentals suspended UNTIL 11:59 p.m. April 30. Original article stated incorrectly “starting”)